Microfiction in the spirit of the Christmas Season
He jumped. He looked up with terror in his eyes. Should he run? Would she call the police? “Do you have something I could eat?” He couldn’t believe it came out of his mouth, but too late, it did.
A few minutes later they were in the church office, where she told him to make himself at home, and that she would be down in the kitchen looking for some food. In the refrigerator, she found some lunchmeat, and cheese on a platter, and in the cupboard she found crackers that had been saved for the bishop’s upcoming visit. She took them anyway. She thought out loud, “…and some tea would be nice…” “Do boys drink tea?” She went for a cold soda instead.
When she brought back the platter of food, and the soda, he was stunned. It was crackers and cheese – American cheese, along with some turkey. His prayer had been answered and then some. Tears welled up in his eyes, but he said nothing.
They talked for a while about everything, while he ate. Sometimes he talked with his mouth full of food. He was too hungry to worry about manners, besides if she had called the police, he would have to leave in a hurry. It was his turn to take a chance, and he let her know that the police were after him, for stealing.
She did not flinch, but said, “What did you steal?”, “Food, just food” he said, and that was the truth. They talked more about his family, foster parents, how long had he been on the streets? She was shocked when he told her three years, off and on. Sometimes he was caught and sent to social services. He hated living with foster parents, so he would just run away again.
“What about the shelters?”, she asked. “Too dangerous – people get raped and stabbed, and everything else there.” Again she was shocked. He told her he would have to lie to get in, and say that he was the son of one of the men, otherwise the police were called. He usually only stayed for a few days, got some food, a hot shower, and he was on his way again.
After he was done eating (the platter of lunchmeat and cheese was gone!) he wanted to leave. She asked him one thing before he left. “If I gave you all the food you wanted, would you stop stealing?” He thought about that for a moment, but said, “Yes”.
They met every day at the church, where he ate and they both talked. He told her where he had stolen food from. There were two convenience stores, and the local organic market (the food was much better there). There was also the fancy Italian restaurant on Culver Avenue, where they gave him food at the back door, all because he threatened to cause a scene at the front door and tell customers waiting that he got food poisoning by eating there.
The more they talked the more they became friends. His name was Bobby Hendricks. She not only brought food everyday (with plenty of leftovers) but fresh clothing. At the church he was able to wash up at the sink, and he started feeling human again.
Bobby did not know it, but over a two week period Mrs. Thompson went to the each of the places that Bobby had stolen food from. Many of the thefts they did not know about, but she made a list of estimated costs, and the amounts from what Bobby had described. The bill for the organic grocery store alone was $387.00. At each place she handed the store manager a list, and a check for the items taken. The people were shocked, and some wouldn’t take her money, until she insisted.
The last chapter of this series will be next time. Peace to you!
Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree